Black History Month – Mary Seacole’s legacy   

Black History Month is observed every year in October in the UK. The main aims of Black History Month are to celebrate the achievements and contributions of black people throughout the world and to educate all on black history.

Mary Seacole House

City & County is proud to share that one of our Extra Care schemes is named after an inspiring woman from black history. London Care’s 32-flat Extra Care scheme in Hammersmith is named ‘Mary Seacole House’.

Who was Mary Seacole?

Mary Seacole was born in Jamaica in 1805 and trained as a doctress. She first visited the UK in 1821, and later settled in London.

Seacole is probably best known for setting up the ‘British Hotel’ – a care facility located behind the lines during the Crimean War. On the outbreak of the Crimean War, Seacole applied to the War Office to be included among the nursing contingent but was refused. Travelling independently, Seacole set up her own base and tended to the battlefield wounded.

She became popular among service personnel, who raised money for her when she faced financial challenges after the war. In 1857 a four-day fundraising gala took place in London to honour Seacole, attracting 40,000 attendees.

Today, we’re proud to deliver care in one of the many locations which mark Mary Seacole’s legacy. The impact of Seacole’s work lives on, and she was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991. In 2004, Seacole was voted the greatest black Briton in a survey conducted by the black heritage website Every Generation.

Care Heroes spotlight – Specialist Care Worker of the Year 2022 – Ben Kelly

This week, we are shining a spotlight on Ben Kelly – winner of the ‘Specialist Care Worker of the Year Award’ at City & County’s Care Heroes Awards 2022.

Ben has worked in care for 14 years and has been with his current client for the past eight, offering 24-hour support to him three days a week.

Branch manager, Jackie McCormack, at Guardian Homecare Blackpool, nominated Ben for the award due to his commitment, professionalism, and resilience.  Jackie said, “The client can be aggressive and very demanding, we only have a small cohort of staff who will go into this location, but Ben’s commitment and patience has kept his service user in his home and inspired his entire team.”  This client’s aggressiveness goes beyond what is manageable to most. But there is one person the client can always count on to show up day in and day out: Ben.

At one point, the council was pushing to put the client into a secure facility, but Ben pushed back. He has figured out what can keep his client calm, he knows how to manage his personality shifts. Ben deals with his client’s physical and mentally challenging behaviour daily – so we sat down with Ben to uncover the secret to his unflappable dedication. (Ben is pictured below, with HR Director Judith Lyons, at the Care Heroes Awards ceremony).

It sounds like there are some very hard days. How do you stay motivated?

I don’t take anything personally. If he gets aggressive or insulting; I know he doesn’t mean it. He does it with everyone. I see past his actions and focus on the fact that he is struggling and needs my help.

What is the biggest challenge of working with this client?

The unpredictability is definitely the hardest part. I never know who I am going to get. It is a challenge trying the empathise and be patient with all his personalities, which change throughout the day. I must always stay on my toes.

I care about my client, and I couldn’t accept the idea of him being locked up. I know at his home, with my support, he can have a much better quality of life. We go on outings, cook together, chat and have the freedom to explore. He has a car that was fitted for him that he drives us around in and he loves that.

What brought you into care?

My family. My sisters are support workers. They are nurses. My mum is a registered manager in care. My mum used to do respite with clients with Learning Disabilities. They would come to our house, and I would interact with them. It came naturally to me.

What do you like about your job?

It doesn’t feel like a job.  I like helping clients who are unable to help themselves. If my client didn’t have a staff member, his life would be much worse. I like being able to give people better lives.

Do you feel supported by your team?

I have an incredible team. The Blackpool branch manager and team leaders go above and beyond to make sure I am ok and have the support I need. They are always at the end of the phone, and they are happy to step in, roll up their sleeves and help if I need it. I couldn’t have lasted without them. I know that I am never alone.

Branch manager vacancy

We have an exciting opportunity for a Branch Manager role in Exeter.

We would love to hear from you if you are looking to relocate or looking to step up in your career. This is a great opportunity to manage a great branch, currently delivering around 3,000 hours per week in a great office location. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Oz in the operational recruitment team for more information. Email: oz.masood@candchealthcare

Promoting good mental health in the workplace – FREE webinar  

The Health and Safety Executive is running a free webinar on promoting good mental health in the workplace.

The session, at 10.30am on Tuesday 18 October, will raise awareness of the preventative measures that employers can take to identify and manage work-related stress.

Find out more and register here.